Documentary filmmaker enlists Mac students' help in filming RNC events

By Tressa Versteeg

Five students took on a different role at the Republican National Convention this week than most Macalester students. Alison Kim ’09, Evans Brown ’10, John Branden ’11, Rose Holdorf ’11 and Jacque Kutvirt ’11 filmed the events for Los Angeles-based filmmaker Joan Sekler.Sekler has made numerous political documentaries and her film “Unprecedented: The 2000 Presidential Election” has won numerous awards, and this year she plans to release both DNC and RNC documentaries before the November election. The HMCS department e-mailed students over the summer to inform them of the oppotunity to volunteer for the project.

“After looking at some of her [Sekler’s] other stuff and researching more about what was planned for the happenings outside, I realized that this would be an amazing opportunity to learn from while capturing such an important week for today’s politics,” Holdorf said.

The students filmed events the entire week of the RNC. They shot footage of numerous protests, marches and concerts such as the Sept. 1 March on the RNC, the Take Back Labor Day Festival, The Ripple Effect concert, The March for our Lives protest, and the Peace Festival.

But the students also experienced and captured the violence and conflicts that surrounded the event.

While filming, Evans was in the midst of an unauthorized march to the Xcel Center Tuesday, Sept.2, and was tear-gassed along with some of the protestors.

“The worst part is to witness how the police, protestors, Democrats, Republicans and every social group in between have placed each other at the poles of good or evil,” Holdorf said. “We have all become victims of misjudgment.”

However, the unification of people for a common cause has been a highlight of their experiences, the filmmakers all agreed.

Evans said that “meeting the diverse groups of people working together to protest the RNC” was his best experience.

Holdorf seconded the experience as her best as well.”Citizens, more united than ever in my lifetime, are truly and earnestly invested in making our world a more peaceful and safe environment to all those who live here,” she said. “I have not only learned a lot about documentary filmmaking, but also regarding the strength of the human voice. It is impossible to truly capture a moment of such immense caliber on film when there are so many people to be heard and stories to be told.